Shaolin fashion monk

There are two questions everyone needs to ask about any martial art — "does it work on the street?" and "does it work on the catwalk?"  This video suggests that the answer to the second one, for Shaolin kung fu, is a resounding "yes."


I think there might also be a lesson here about looking where you are walking but, to be fair, maybe that's hard when spotlights are being beamed into your face. 

(via Japundit, who make some wry observations on karma, too) 

Origami shuriken

Photo sent in by Matt, who also folded it

If you ever find yourself in a pinch with only a sheet of paper between yourself and your enemies, knowing a skill such as shuriken-folding could well save your bacon. So here's a link explaining How to Fold a Shuriken

Of course Fudebakudo has this to say about origami. There are also the remarkable downloadable slippers — once you've mastered that technique you never have to buy another pair of shoes again. In fact, there are probably cobblers out there whose businesses were ruined when Fudebakudo combined the technologies of origami and internet. Sorry cobblers.


How to fold a Hakama

There are many ways to fold a hakama (that's the pleated skirt-like thing worn when practicing arts like aikido and kendo). The important thing is that it is done at the end of a class, and that it is done intricately, so that by the time you've finished folding it everyone else has finished putting the mats away.

folded hakama

The exquisite chirashi udon or "scattered noodle" style of hakama folding

Last night I was lucky to witness one of the most intricate examples of hakama folding — this is the rare chirashi udon style, rarely seen outside of Japan. It's amazing that this knowledge is out there, and that those who have mastered it are passing amongst us, even here in the UK.


Admin: forthcoming server upheaval

Exploding Pen is about to migrate to a different webserver. This may result in an interruption to our otherwise reliable, unflappable service. If you feel a tremor in the Force during your training, that's what it was. Sometime in the next week, we should clunk and bump onto the new machine.

Etin, CFO of the Exploding Pen publishing empire, with brass plaque

It's not just technical administration that interrupts the "business-as-usual" intensive training and under-waterfall meditation that normally goes on here, oh no. Sometimes the earthly matters of Her Majesty's Government and its Company Law rudely interfere with life in our secret mountain-top monastery bunker HQ. For example, this photo, taken last Saturday in London, shows Etin, Chief Financial Officer, in front of the Companies House brass plaque, having just delivered some frightfully important documents.

Companies House, if you didn't know, is where all the businesses in the UK are registered. I've never been inside — we just send our CFO to attend meetings there, and he tells us that what goes on is on a "need to know" basis, and so far, he says, we've needed to know nothing. Etin came to be with us because one of the Exploding Pen directors adopted him in Borneo. If you ever adopt an Orang-utan, learn from our experience and don't entrust him or her with any executive responsibility. The power goes to their orange-furred heads, and they get difficult.